Read Loving Charley Online

Authors: Casey Peeler

Tags: #romance, #dating, #college life, #new adult, #southern literatrure, #mature young adult, #teen and young adult, #pretty little liars, #teen romantic fiction, #teen 16 plus

Loving Charley (9 page)

BOOK: Loving Charley
8.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

His face turns bright red.
“Jackalope Joe! Is there something you’re not telling

“I have no idea what you’re
talking about, but I will have to say that girl is something else…
and I’ll leave it at that.”

Cutting my eyes at Cash, I
know exactly what that means. Piper has Joe wrapped, and she’s not
going to let him loose if she can help it. I can’t blame her one
bit. He’s a good one, and if I didn’t have my Cash Money, he would
definitely be at the top of my get-to-know list.

“Well, I just wanted to say hey. I’m
sure I’ll see ya on the dance floor in a little bit.”

“Wait! Let’s send Piper a
pic. You think she’s back yet?” We send a funny group shot with a
message wishing she was here before Joe goes to hang out with the

After Joe leaves, Cash and
I sit and enjoy being together. Little by little the dance floor
continues to get packed. Cash and I have had a good time sitting
here, but now it’s time to shake what my mama gave me. Taking him
by the hand, I pull him from the booth, putting a little more
emphasis on my hips as we make our way to the dance

As we reach it, I turn
around and face him. “You know you’re killin’ me, right?” he

“I don’t want to kill you, but I might
want to make you want me just a little bit more.”

“Char-coal, that ain’t
possible, but I plan on enjoying every minute of it.”

Smiling, I look him in the
eyes and brush my lips against his. Wrapping my arms around his
neck, I sway my hips to the beat of the music, and he follows
along. Whoever said white boys can’t dance sure haven’t seen Cash.
He doesn’t even need liquid courage. With each song, we become more
in tune with each other. Everyone around us has disappeared, and we
are now the only people I see. That is until Katy Perry comes
through the speakers. I’m brought back to reality with the sound of
Hayden and all my friends singing at the top of their lungs, and I
have no choice but to join in.

Cash stands at the edge of
the dance floor with Joe as they watch. He has a huge grin on his
face with his arms crossed, and Joe does the same. It’s kinda funny
how things worked out. Not only do I have the man of my dreams, but
my best friend has hers as well.

When the song ends, we
continue to dance like we would at Hank’s. Every guy in the room is
watching us, and we all enjoy it a little too much. As guys start
to approach us to dance, I decide I might need to find Cash Money.
That’s when I feel hands touch my hips that aren’t his. Glancing
over my shoulder, I see Tucker, the fine ass baseball player. He
smiles. I turn to face him and excuse myself, but he doesn’t let go
of my hips.

“Tucker, I’m with someone,”
I say as I point to Cash.

“Oh, well, I just thought
since you and Joe are a no, maybe we could pick up from where we
left off at Hank’s.”

“I’m sorry, but if you want
someone fun to dance with, both Georgia and Caroline are single and

“Okay, but I just thought we had

Tucker and I are not going
to have anything going, so I separate myself from him and lead him
toward Georgia who is talking to Cash.

“Georgia, this is Tucker.
He plays baseball and wants to dance,” I say

Georgia looks at me like
I’ve lost it, but smiles and agrees. Tucker introduces himself to
Cash and informs him that he is one lucky guy to have me. Cash
agrees completely, and they make their way to the dance

Cash places his arm around
my waist. “I’m not even gonna ask about that one, but I was about
two seconds away from getting my ass put back in jail.”

“Now, Cash Money, we can’t
have that,” I say as I turn into his chest, place my hand on his
cheek, and make him forget that another guy just tried to make a
move on me.

We spend the remainder of
the night in each other’s arms both on and off the dance floor.
When the house lights come up, we make our way to the Love Machine
and back to Southern. The ride is full of chatter about Georgia and
Tucker and what is going to become of that. He seems like a decent
guy, but only time will tell, because those baseball guys have a
reputation of taking one thing and leaving. If that’s the case, he
won’t call Georgia again because she’s not that kinda

We say goodbye to everyone
and wait while they make their way back to their rooms. I have to
make sure our residential assistant isn’t on the prowl. She’s not,
so we walk to my room. Once we are inside, we get ready for bed.
Exhausted from a night out, I can’t wait to fall asleep in Cash’s
arms, which is exactly what I do, even though I don’t want morning
to come. In the morning, Cash will have to go back to Grassy Pond,
I’ll have practice, and we will be apart until his court

Chapter 15

I awake to the sound of a bird chirping and the
warmth of Cash’s arms around me. I don’t want to move because that
would risk the chance of him stirring, and then he will have to go.
Glancing at the clock, I see that it’s eight. I have practice at
ten. I decide the best choice to make right now is to lie in Cash’s
arms until I’m forced to get up.

Undoubtedly, Cash is
exhausted because I finally have to wake him at nine-fifteen. It’s
earlier than I want, but I do want to enjoy his company a little
bit before he has to leave and I have practice.

As I roll to wake him with
a kiss, he smiles at me. “Well, if I didn’t know better, I’d think
you were just acting like you were sleepin’,” I say before meeting
my lips with his.

“I’ll never tell,” he says
with a wink as he places his arms around my body. “I really don’t
want to leave.”

“I know. You sure this is the right

Sweeping my hair out of my
face, I reply, “I know it’s the right choice. This semester will be
over before we know it. Then, I will be home until next

Not really wanting to touch
the next year subject, I just do what any girl would do lying with
the hottest country boy around. I take advantage.

Until we have to get ready,
Cash and I have fun in the sheets, but don’t cross the line. I’m
dreading this moment. It was terrible to leave him in Grassy Pond,
and here I am replaying this scene again. He must sense my sadness,
as we get ready, because he wraps his loving arms around me as I
attempt to pull my hair into a ponytail.

“I don’t want to leave either, but I
have to. I’m sure your dad would love to have to pay double

“You’re right about that.” I smirk. “I
could just see his face if he got that kinda bill.”

Once I finish putting up my
hair, we hold each other until we don’t have any other choice but
to go our separate ways.

“Come on. Let me drive you
to practice,” Cash says as he grabs my swim bag and his duffle

Cash gets my keys, and we
make our way to my car. He opens the passenger seat for me and
kisses my lips before closing the door and walking around to the
driver’s seat. After glancing at him in the driver’s seat, I
The things a guy will do for his
girl, like drive her car.

“What’s that for?” he

“You just look so cute drivin’ the

“Hey, it takes a real man to drive
one, but I feel like I’m on the dirt compared to the

After placing the car in
reverse, he puts his hand on my leg and drives me to practice. As
we see the gym approaching, tears begin to swell in my eyes. I try
to brush them without Cash noticing, but it’s a lost

As we pull into a parking
space, Cash puts the car in park and comes to open the door for me.
He guides me out of the car by my hand, and I stand as he pulls me
in for a sweet embrace. He wipes the tears that are now freely
falling from my eyes and pulls up my chin to meet his

“Char-coal, don’t cry. It
only makes it harder for both of us. I’m going to try to come back
next weekend or at least for Southern States. Maybe Tessa can bring
your car, and I’ll follow her in the truck. That way you can come
home when you want. Know that whether I’m here with you or at home,
you are always my first thought. The first one in the morning,
constantly during the day, and the last one before I meet you in my

“I love you, Cash Money,
with my whole heart, and it hurts so much to know we have to be

“I love you more, but think of it more
as an adventure. While I’m at home in Grassy Pond, you’re living
the college life for both of us. Not that I regret not going away,
but it wasn’t my dream… it was yours.”

Knowing that Cash is right, I hold him
tighter. He brings my lips to his and kisses them sweetly and hugs
me again before making me head to practice before I’m

“I’ll text ya when I’m home. Now, go
before you’re late. Love you!”

“Love you, too,” I say as I
turn and walk into the gym, strutting just a little to leave him
with a view to remember. That thought makes me smile instead of
wanting to cry, so that’s what I do. I smile.

Practice is just practice.
It’s great to be back with Coach and the team. It feels amazing to
be back in the pool, especially considering that I didn’t get to
the pool like I wanted to the last few days. When practice is over,
Coach asks to see me.

“Whatcha need,

“Charley, come in and have
a seat.”
This cannot be
, I think to myself as I take a seat.
“I know you probably don’t want to talk about it, but I need to
know exactly what is going on at home. Word travels fast, and the
fact that one of the state’s best swimmers has been charged with
rape, I just need to know how I can support you.”

“Coach, I just want him to
pay. I want to stop him from hurting anyone else, and I want to
stop looking over my shoulder all the time.”

Coach fidgets with a few
papers on her desk before she speaks. “Charley, I hope he rots in
hell, because I don’t care if he is God’s gift to the swimming
sport, that is unacceptable. The only thing I’m worried about is
Southern States. There will be a lot of coverage there, and you are
already in the spotlight with your times. Add this story to it, and
who knows what will happen? I just need you to promise me that no
matter what they say or do, you will keep you head held high and
remember we are here for you.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Oh, and Charley, you
looked fabulous in the water today. You’re gonna leave them

As I’m leaving Coach’s
office, I’m met by Georgia and Tori who are dying to know what has
gone on. I fill them in fast, and Tori is quick to say that she
will take care of anyone that tries to start anything at Southern
States. I don’t want any more trouble, so I inform her that we are
classy Southern girls and will do what any country girl would do.
That means put on a pretty face and kick their ass in the water.
She loves that idea, and we walk back to Kluft and get ready for
our first day of a new semester.

Chapter 16

Cash made it home all right
and informed me that he and Tessa will bring back my car next
weekend at Southern States. He also told me that I might want to
call Tessa because she seemed a little too happy when he saw her.
That can only mean one thing; Dustin finally got in touch with her,
and I’m beyond happy for her.

Giving a little time lapse
between now and calling Tessa, I take a quick shower, glance at my
class schedule, and relax. Afterward, I call her. Of course, she
answers right before it goes to voicemail.

“Hey, Sis! Whatcha doin’?”
she says very perky.

“Um…well, a little birdy
told me you were in a very good mood, and I just wanted to see the
reason behind it.”

“Charley Anne Rice! Do I
have to have a reason to be in a fabulous
make-your-heart-wanna-melt mood?”

“No, but I know you well enough to
know that something has happened. Either you got outta doing chores
for the rest of the year or Dustin has made your day.”

“Gah, why do you always
think that it has something to do with getting’ outta work? But,
you are right! He called!” she squeals. In all my years, I’ve never
seen Tessa like this, and I hope and pray that Dustin is her
forever like Cash is mine. I know it will make for interesting
family functions in the future, but with love, anything’s

“What did he

“He said that now that his
parents have had time to cool off, they can’t stop him from seeing
me. They did ask if we would keep it low key until after the court
stuff, but regardless, they aren’t goin’ to stop us from being

My heart leaps out of my
chest with excitement for Tessa and Dustin. They deserve to be
happy despite what has happened between Dylan and me. The fact that
Dustin wasn’t willing to just let her go makes me love him,

“I’m so happy for y’all!
Have you seen him yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Well, I have an idea. What
about if y’all take the club for the night or two? It’s not like
I’m going to be home to use it, and I know Cash won’t

BOOK: Loving Charley
8.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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